Of Poetry, Sound, and Symbol: Concert and Workshops

  • April 16, 2023 9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
  • The Center for Engaged Storytelling

    814 Broadway
    New York City, New York 07104
Ticket Price $200.00 This event is now over

Join us for a unique day of storytelling exploration, insight, skill-building and celebration. The Gathering is in person in NYC!  On Sunday April 16th from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm EST, Milbre Burch, Heather Forest, and Laura Simms will offer a storytelling concert with breakfast, and three ninety-minute interactive sessions followed by a closing circle, all intended to deepen the art and craft of our stories. 

Attendees will bring a personal or traditional narrative of up to 10 minutes to view through the lenses of the workshops. Milbre’s focus is on world-building and the poetic narrative.  Heather shares secrets of music and sound. And Laura presents the role of the narrator and the nature of symbols.  

The all-inclusive ticket for the day’s event is on a sliding scale of $200-$400. This enriching and intimate gathering is limited to 14 participants. 

Location: The Center for Engaged Storytelling, 814 Broadway, NYC, NY.

Description of event setting: The event will take place in the loft setting of the Center for Engaged Storytelling, a third-floor walkup in Manhattan. There participants will be greeted by the workshop artists, our feline host Awesome Blossom, a continental breakfast, and a feast of creative ideas about storytelling. Following the concert and a morning workshop, lunch in the walkable neighborhood will be on your own. Two afternoon workshops will be followed by a closing circle to reflect upon the day’s activities.

Note: If participants have mobility issues, special arrangements may be able to be made to use a private elevator to the third floor. Be sure to let the presenters know about your needs when you register. 


Additional private coaching opportunities will be available for a fee with any of the artists on Monday afternoon and evening. Please let us know if you are interested.


NYC Cultural Opportunities: For anyone who comes from beyond New York City, we will offer a buffet list of possible Manhattan events to expand your NY experience. Also, a list of nearby restaurants and possible housing will be sent if needed.



9:30-10:00 am- Welcome Coffee, Tea, Bagels & Sundries

10:00-11:00 Breakfast Concert: On Poetry, Sound, & Symbol with Milbre, Heather, & Laura


11:15-12:45  Mining Treasure on the Tongue: a Workshop on World-building through Poetic Narrative with Milbre Burch

Participants will respond to demonstrations, prompts and exercises to find “the best words in the best order” to build their story worlds and create characters’ voices and vocabulary, using language appropriate to that world and those characters. Pencils and keepsake journals will be provided for this work. Be prepared to play with language on the page and on the tongue.

12:45-1:45 Lunch on your own in the neighborhood.  

2:00-3:30pm  Music in Storytelling: a StorySound Workshop with Heather Forest

Through playful vocal improvisation, demonstration, and discussion, workshop participants will explore the natural rhythms of language, simple song making, and the creative potential of the voice as a nuanced instrument for speaking and singing. We will examine ways to include song and rhythm in story composition, sharpen character/narrator voicing, and use musical elements to engage audience participation. This vocal improvisation workshop does not require any prior musical training!


3:45-5:15 The Magic of Engagement; The Story as Symbol Workshop with Laura Simms

Explore exercises that deepen our realization of the singular role of the narrator, and the nature of engagement itself.  Be ready to work with the subtle aspects that enhance the reciprocity, clarity and magic of a storytelling performance or presentation.  If you have a story you are working with, please bring it with you. Large papers and markers will be available.  

 5:30-6:30 pm: Closing Circle: Reflecting on the day and moving forward.

About the Artists:

Laura Simms is internationally acclaimed as a storytelling artist, writer, and humanitarian. She combines traditional stories with personal narrative. For Laura storytelling is an act of compassion, spiritual and ecological restoration, and social justice.  She is Artistic Director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center, served as a Senior Research Fellow for Rutgers University Peace Center under the auspices of UNESCO, and saved a zoo in Romania.  Laura won the Sesame Street SUNNY DAYS AWARD for work with children worldwide, received the Hasbro September 11 Grant, and other awards.  Presently Laura is a Storytelling Consultant for a Shared Sacred Story Project sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, and is writing a new book. Her performance Rejoice, Regardless was featured recently in Tampa, Florida, and the Blue Coat Theater in Liverpool, UK.     For more information visit:  www.laurasimms.com


Milbre Burch is a GRAMMY-nominated spoken word recording artist, an internationally known Oracle-Award-winning storyteller, and a sought-after teaching artist. The preeminent interpreter of Jane Yolen stories, she has performed and taught across the US, Europe and Asia since 1978. She has created nationally recognized residencies, workshops and pre-conferences, as well as locally lauded community outreach events. A produced and published playwright, Milbre holds a PhD in theatre and performance studies from the University of Missouri. She is dedicated to addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, to working for peace and justice and reconciliation, and to speaking the truth of women’s experiences. For more information, visit www.kindcrone.com 


Heather Forest, is a modern day bard who has appeared in theatres, schools, literature conferences, and storytelling festivals throughout the United States and abroad. Her dynamic fusion of original music, poetry, and the sung and spoken word brings multicultural folktales to life in the imagination of her listeners. She has shared her unique storytelling works at The National Storytelling Festival, TN, the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., the Discovery Theatre at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., and at international festivals including the Sidmouth Folk Festival, England, Tales of Graz, Austria, and at the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival, New Zealand. She has published eighteen folktale recordings and books and has won an American Library Association Notable Record Award, two Parent’s Choice Gold Awards, and three Storytelling World Honor Awards. A pioneer in the American storytelling renaissance, Heather Forest is a recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award presented by the National Storytelling Network, U.S.A. for performance skill and the 2021 Talking Leaves Award for her contributions to storytelling literature. For more information visit: https://www.heatherforest.com/ 



Date & Time

Sun, Apr 16, 2023 9:30 AM - 6:30 PM

Venue Details

The Center for Engaged Storytelling

814 Broadway
New York City, New York 07104 The Center for Engaged Storytelling
Story Arts Inc.

Story Arts Inc. is a not-for-profit cultural arts organization devoted to the fine art of storytelling and to its educational applications. 

Find more Story Arts Inc. Events